House Votes to Defund Libya War

Sherman Amendment Passes With Strong Bipartisan Support

by Jason Ditz, June 14, 2011

A surpise late Monday vote saw the House of Representatives pass the Sherman Amendment to the military appropriations bill by a a vote of 248-163. The vote enjoyed strong bipartisan support, with roughly equal majorities on both sides of the aisle.

The bill was a redux of an amendment Rep. Sherman (D – CA) narrowly failed to get inserted into the Homeland Security bill, and bars any money appropriated under the act from being spent in contravention to the War Powers Act, making it a de facto ban on all funding for the Libyan War.

The war has been illegal under the War Powers Act since late May, when the president’s 60 day grace period for gaining congressional authorization for the conflict lapsed. President Obama did not even seek authorization until late on the 60th day, and so far neither House nor Senate has approved of the conflict.

The House has debated a number of resolutions related to this violation, and on June 3 granted President Obama an addition 14 day extension, ostensibly to “explain” the war to Congress. No such explanation was offered and this deadline too risks lapsing with no administration response.

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